• Mindanao Business Conference to tackle Asean integration

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    The 23rd Mindanao Business Conference to be on September 1 to 3, 2014 at KCC Mall in General Santos City will focus on vital issues that are crucial for Mindanao business relating to the integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) next year, organizers said.

    Hosted by the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Sarangani Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., the business confab will have delegates from the academe, business sector, and government agencies who will help lay the foundation for this year’s theme, “Growth Beyond Convergence.”

    These delegates from different sectors will discuss important issues on the Asean market, multilateral trade agreements, food and energy security, trade and finance, intellectual property and geopolitical challenges.

    “The theme of this year’s conference highlights the need to level up from the unity and cooperation that Mindanao has achieved, into becoming more aggressive in gaining global competitiveness,” said Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon, one of the event’s keynote speakers.

    The conference will allow stakeholders from both private and public sectors to exchange views and ideas on how Asean economies can benefit from a highly competitive international economy.

    Solon cited the need for local industries to exchange views and to prepare for competition among their Asean counterparts. Mindanao’s proximity to Asean members like Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore makes it the Philippines’ gateway for regional trade. He said that if Mindanao could do its role as a gateway—connecting the country to the rest of Asean—Mindanaoans would benefit from a well-deserved economic stimulus.

    “I am optimistic that this year’s gathering of senior business leaders, members of the local chambers of commerce, government policy makers, and investors will result to increased dynamism in working for inclusive growth,” Solon said.

    “The province of Sarangani recognizes the challenges posed by the liberalization of trade and industry. Hence, our Sulong Sarangani program hopes to narrow the gaps by converging its resources with the private sector, enabling it to benefit from globalization,” Solon added.

    Conference organizers are expecting up to 1,500 participants, of whom 1,200 are from Mindanao, and 200 foreign delegates from different foreign chambers of commerce. President Benigno Aquino 3rd is expected to attend this year’s conference.

    This year’s Mindanao Business Conference is a collaboration among the local government units of General Santos City and Sarangani Province, Mindanao Development Authority, and Department of Trade and Industry. The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry is its lead convenor.

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